Charges Against Pro-Life Investigative Journalist David Daleiden are Totally Bogus. Here’s Why

Opinion   |   Matt Heffron   |   Apr 10, 2017   |   5:04PM   |   Washington, DC

The saga of David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress continues to shed new light on the darkness of Planned Parenthood and its political accomplices. The filing of criminal charges in California on March 28 against Mr. Daleiden and Sandra Merritt opened a new window, revealing how tightly some politicians on the left are locked in the grip of Big Abortion.

The new Attorney General of California, Xavier Becerra, has received campaign funds from Planned Parenthood’s deep pockets and was publicly acclaimed by Planned Parenthood when he recently was appointed. In less than two months after taking office as the AG, he filed 15 felony counts against the individuals who exposed Planned Parenthood’s criminality.

From my point of view as a former federal prosecutor and a member of Mr. Daleiden’s defense team in the pending civil lawsuits, AG Becerra’s move makes no sense from a law enforcement perspective. No serious prosecutor would have filed these charges. Only a politician would.

Let me put this into perspective. Mr. Daleiden’s alleged “crime” is that he recorded abortionists discussing their activities without them knowing they were being recorded. Abortionists were recorded discussing the process of dismembering infants in the womb and then selling their body parts for a profit. If proven in court, that would be a federal felony under 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2.

Even if the California Attorney General could prove his case of improper recording against Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt, this would be a minor offense and dubious charge at worst. Under the laws of 38 other states, as well the federal government, it would not be a crime at all. Only in California and 11 other states do both parties to a conversation need to know the recording is occurring.

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Even in California, this anti-recording law is honored in its breach. Journalists in California routinely conduct undercover video stings and do not get charged with a crime.

A well-known animal protection group called Mercy for Animals regularly sends undercover videographers, using aliases, to expose conduct of which it disapproves. In one of its many undercover videos, the group’s undercover videographer gained access to a goat slaughterhouse by posing as a prospective meat buyer. After the videotape was publicized, California law enforcement authorities prosecuted the goat slaughterer for animal cruelty, not the undercover reporter.

So what is the moral of the story? If you are an undercover reporter against goat slaughtering, you get applauded and not prosecuted. If you are an undercover reporter against slaughtering human children and the trafficking of their body parts, you get prosecuted while those slaughtering and trafficking do not.

Apparently in California, you only get prosecuted for undercover video stings if you hold views disfavored by the political elite, particularly when you embarrass the money-flush, politically powerful Goliath of abortion.

And that is why this most recent twist in the Daleiden saga is an eye-opener. It hearkens an idea, loosely paraphrased, attributed to our patron saint at the Thomas More Society: if you cut down the laws in order to destroy your political opponents, what remains to protect the culture left standing from unbridled political power? Perhaps Mr. Becerra should think about that.

Help David Defeat Goliath

Tomorrow, April 11, join David Daleiden — the heroic undercover investigator who exposed Planned Parenthood’s barbaric aborted baby body parts business — for an urgent LIVE online event to learn about the latest attacks from the abortion giant and its political puppets … and what’s needed right now to turn the tide and win this epic struggle against Planned Parenthood. Register for free here

LifeNews: Matt Heffron is an attorney working with the Thomas More Society, out of its Omaha office. The national not-for-profit law firm is dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty.